Why hybrid working is the way forward for accounting firms

June 9th 2021 | Posted by Dave Cross

Why hybrid working is the way forward for accounting firms

Why hybrid working is the way forward for accounting firms

Top professional services firms have announced their intention to implement a hybrid system of working.

They are adapting their office spaces to support both home and office-based working. This system takes account of the needs of the business, employees and clients.

The same system can work just as well for all sizes of accounting firms when supported by careful planning and communication. Adopting this system allows people to benefit from the positives of home working while also maintaining a physical connection with the office and clients.

Why full remote working is not sustainable

There is no doubt that there are recognisable benefits of remote working. Employees have spoken about having more time available due to a reduction in travel and being able to sustain a better work/life balance.

Many accounting clients have also enjoyed an improved level of flexibility due to the practice of meeting their accountant virtually.

However, this is not the full story. Collaboration is often made easier when people can gather together physically and clients also often prefer face to face communication. So, developing a hybrid approach is the most appropriate path to take.

Key times when a physical working environment is essential

One of the key considerations when developing a model for hybrid working, is building and maintaining relationships with clients. Having the option to work with clients in a flexible manner helps to make relationships more productive and improves client satisfaction.

A model which enables working in office and remotely also gives employees the best of both worlds. It enables individuals with caring responsibilities to adapt their working pattern around those responsibilities, as long as business needs are met. On the other hand, it gives people who prefer the physical working environment the opportunity to benefit from it.

Having a physical working environment in place for at least part of the time is especially beneficial to young recruits and graduates. They are able to gain confidence from physically working within a team. They also have the opportunity to witness various situations first hand. Bearing these positives in mind, it’s clear that young people new to the world of accounting are most likely to thrive where being physically connected to the work environment is possible.

Of course, the pandemic has shown us that remote working can succeed in some situations. So, it makes sense to use a hybrid approach of remote working and a physical work space.

Accounting firms need to take this into account as they plan for emerging from the difficulties of the pandemic. Right now, home working is still being advised where possible but the situation is changing as the success of the vaccine program takes hold. So, firms have to take steps to ensure that they are ready to proceed. In order to make the best possible progress for the business, employees and clients, the hybrid approach to working is the way to go for most firms.

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